Beads of Courage is a nonprofit  organization  providing innovative arts-in medicine programs that improve the quality of life of children coping with cancer and other serious illnesses. Children and teens enrolled in the program receive colorful beads that commemorate, communicate, and celebrate every step of their treatment journey.

Beads of Courage, Inc. is an international organization  helping more than 60,000 children in 240 children’s hospitals annually. The flagship Beads of Courage program was originally designed for pediatric oncology patients, but has expanded to provide services for other serious chronic illnesses, including cystic fibrosis.

The core Beads of Courage program has been shown to decrease illness-related distress, increase the use of positive coping strategies, help children find meaning in illness, and restore a sense of self in children coping with serious illness. The program provides something visual and tangible that children can use to tell about their treatment experiences. Because of compromised immune systems, children with CF are frequently not allowed to attend support groups; the Beads of Courage program will help children chronicle their journey, while providing a meaningful symbol of strength and courage. Children may receive beads for treatment experiences such as attending clinic appointments, being hospitalized, having PFTs or chest x-rays, undergoing surgery, or having a challenging moment with medication.

Albany Med patients enrolled in the program will start with their first name spelled out in beads on a strand. They will receive more beads based on the Beads of Courage bead prescription that serves as the clinical protocol. “We are so excited to be able to bring this program to our CF clinic, thanks to the Donna Crandall Foundation,” said Maureen Sharkey, a child life specialist at Albany Medical Center. “We believe this program will have a profound impact on our cystic fibrosis patients. It can serve to validate and process feelings, emphasize accomplishments, enhance coping, and tell a patient’s story. As the program literature states, ‘Every time a bead is given, courage is honored, suffering is alleviated, and resilience is strengthened.’”

At the 19th Emerald Eve, the DMCF will celebrate the Courage of CF. We will highlight courageous young people who never let CF stand in their way, but accomplish great things in spite of it.

Who is eligible?

All pediatric CF patients who receive treatment at Albany Med will be eligible.

How do I enroll my child with CF in the Beads of Courage program?

The AMC social worker and child life specialist will offer the program to each family and help them sign up.

How do I learn more about Beads of Courage?

Visit www.beadsofcourage.org and follow @beadsofcourage on social media.

Posted on:  August 28, 2020